My “Return to Paradise”: SAM SPARRO Concert Review

By Tabby Hardman

It was Tuesday night at the Rock and Roll Hotel in northeast D.C.—the night Sam Sparro rocked my world.

Having been a fan of the electro-funk/soul musician since 2008 when his award-winning single, “Black and Gold,” was released—I could not believe I was about to be in the same venue as my all-time favorite artist.

Hesitantly walking into the music club with my best friend Victoria (also a Sam Sparro fan), we found ourselves in a  dark, wood room with small, neon-lit stage.  There were mirrors lining the walls and people scattered around anxiously waiting.

After 20 minutes of chit-chat with Victoria and some serious people watching, the opening act, Big Bright, walked on stage.  As many typically assume with opening acts, I was anticipating a disaster act—however, I was pleasantly surprised by the upbeat, dance music they played and how they really hyped the crowd up for Sam’s pending performance.

Gyrating around and grooving to their beats I yearned to see the main show—Sam.

Once the opening act finished up and said their thank you’s, I realized it was show time.  About 15 minutes after the first act left, Sam’s crew started setting up.

And 15 minutes after that—Sam entered the building.

Strutting on stage like the Australian stallion he is, I just about dropped to the floor.  After four years of undying love and support for his music, the man himself was before me.

Clad in slacks, a tucked in t-shirt, form-fitting beige blazer, and sporting a Freddie Mercury-inspired mustache and haircut—he looked hot.

He started with some of his new tunes from his yet-to-be-released album “Return to Paradise.” Sam got the crowd rocking with the funky “Shallow End,” the sultry, sexy “Let the Love In,” and the upbeat “Happiness.”

Sam then transitioned into a couple oldies, of which he blended into one—“Sick” and “Pocket” from his first self-titled album which was released in 2008.

By this point the show was rolling.  There was sweat dripping, feet jumping, and arms flailing.

The previously empty dance floor was a sea of faces awestruck by Sam’s unbelievable stage presence. His velvety voice resonated throughout the whole room and sounded so perfect you could have thought he was playing a backtrack and mouthing the words.

Sam continued to showcase some of his newer songs like the relatable “Wish I Never Met You” and then it happened.  The moment that changed my life…

Switching vibes into his most famous tune “Black and Gold,” the song that drew me to him to begin with—the crowd went insane.  It became a sing-a-long between Sam and everyone in the audience who knew all the lyrics, me included.

In that moment of pure bliss I reached my hand up along with the other six people around me in the hopes he may just grab my right hand—and he grabbed it.

I was shocked. A tear filled my eye and I realized how lucky I was to be in that room, with all those people, sharing a love for someone who really understands what music is.

Sam closed the show with a combination of an oldie “21st Century Life,” a funky and soulful jam, and then blended that into “Gypsy Woman” (She’s Homeless), a cover he did of the song originally by Crystal Waters which is an old ‘house’ tune.

Throwing himself into the audience as the grand finale, Sam showed his fans his appreciation for their love and support by crowd surfing.

It was magical.

I couldn’t have pictured a better show, between the intimacy of the venue, the band, the back-up singers, the crowd, and of course—Sam Sparro himself.

And, you know, he did hold my hand. Briefly.

All I can say is, Sam, when will you be back?













Lindy and Laughs

By Tabby Hardman

Five…Six…Five, six, seven, eight!

This is the sound that rings around the Johnson Center Dance Studio every Thursday night between 7:30 and 11 p.m. as the George Mason Swing Dance Club is fully immersed in practice.

Maryam Sodeifi, a 24-year-old senior and Sociology major from Burke, Va., founded the club in 2009 having been inspired by a high school photography class project.  “I researched a photographer who took pictures of dancers in the Jazz Age—that’s where I discovered swing dance,” she says.

She decided to create the club so that people could find friends who dance together.

“I wanted to be able to walk around campus and run into students I dance with, I wanted it to be a social thing too,” said Sodeifi. “It’s about going out and meeting people and connecting through dance, some people come to class to relieve stress, some to simply dance, and some to get dates, it’s whatever you want to get out of it.”

Sydney Bernstein-Miller, a 20-year-old sophomore who’s double majoring in Communications and English from Richmond, Va., joined because she wanted to connect better with George Mason, “I had done ballet for ten years and I wanted a way to make friends and get involved so I thought Swing Dance Club would be a good way of doing that.”

Every week the group goes to a social dance in either the Baltimore or Washington D.C. area. “A lot of dances are Friday and Saturday nights in D.C., and every first Friday of the month we participate in a social dance at the Mobtown Ballroom in Baltimore which is a lot of fun and takes place at an old renovated church,” said Sodeifi.

At the end of the day it’s all about fun and anyone who wants to join is able to, “Our goal is to help people become good social dancers and enjoy themselves at the same time,” said Sodeifi.

MLB 12: the Show. So Real It’s Unreal!

By: Anthony Jamison

As an avid gamer, I have played almost every sports franchise ever created. There have been few games that have captured the spirit of their respective sport, but none have done so diligently as MLB: The Show franchise. Without a shadow of doubt, MLB: The Show is the only baseball franchise to year after year hit a home run with each installment. And MLB 12: The Show raised the bar even higher.

If you wanted to reenact Brad Pitt’s “Moneyball” role as Oakland A’s General Manager, Billie Bean, without all the stress of actually being a real life MLB General Manager, here is your opportunity. You have total control of everything — from trading superstars, hiring coaches, to changing the price of hot dogs.

In addition to concession-control, you can also have the ability to give a Michael Bay visual style presentation, minus all of the explosions.  For instance, if you play at Yankees Stadium in New York, each game there starts off with a camera shot of Monument Park (open-air museum in Yankees Stadium, honoring Yankee greats). Every time a Yankee pitcher strikes out someone in the game, you hear the Yankee’s signature strike out music.

Little features like that make MLB 12: The Show unbelievable. There have been plenty of times where people have walked into my living room thinking I was watching an actual baseball game on TV.

If you want to experience the trinity of being the owner, coach, and player then I suggest you go out and snatch this game up right away.

Just Chillin’ With my Main B—-
By: Jessica Farley

So you know those nights when your brain is fried, you just want to lie on the couch in your  rattiest sweats, and eating what may or may not amount to 2,000 calories of Cherry Garcia straight from the carton?

“Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23,” ABC’s latest sitcom venture, is the perfect thing to watch on those nights.

The show tells the story of a bright-eyed, small-town girl, June, who moved to New York to start an exciting new job — but her first day at work, her company is shut down and she finds herself unemployed and homeless (when she’s kicked out of her corporate apartment.)  June, played with a brilliant balance of naiveté and gumption by Dreama Walker, is determined to turn the situation around. June takes a job a local coffee shop and searches for a roommate- enter Chloe in Apartment 23.

Chloe (Krysten Ritter) is best friends with James Van Der Beek (aka Dawson from “Dawson’s Creek”). She invites June to move in, with the plan of driving June so crazy that she’ll move out, and Chloe can keep her cash.  However, after June makes it through Chloe’s shenanigans unscathed- some of which include walking around in the buff and sleeping with June’s fiancé…on her birthday cake-Chloe welcomes June in and an odd-couple friendship is formed.

“Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” isn’t the smartest, or funniest, show currently on television. Many critics have said that you shouldn’t trust that B — nor should you watch her. However, there is a campy, over-the-top element to the show that proves irresistible in the way of mindless, fluffy television.

So, while it may not be up for an Emmy nomination anytime soon, “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23” is the chick-lit of sitcoms. Despite being indulgent, cheesy, and even a little zany,  I found it irresistible — much like the Cherry Garcia ice cream I downed while watching.

Cultures of Resistance: The Human Spirit Lives On

By Daniel A. Shyti

In the same place where companies like Microsoft and Nokia reap their mineral wealth, you will find the same Uranium used for the atomic bombs dropped in World War II.  You will find that pessimism runs deep where a million members of an ethnic group are systematically hunted and killed.  But where life is never guaranteed, people make art to survive.

“Cultures of Resistance,” is an independent film focusing on members of victimized populations around the globe.  Brought to GMU’s Johnson Center Cinema courtesy of the Middle East Studies Program, “Cultures of Resistance,” (directed by Iara Lee)  contains footage compiled since 2003 on five continents.

The documentary offered a rare opportunity to attach a face and a name with people living in tragedy – from genocide in Rwanda to industrial exploitation in the Congo.  More specifically, there was a focus on the valiance of the human spirit manifested in the form of artistic expression, which somehow manages to thrive in even the most devastated regions of the world.  The film stresses the powerful role art can play in galvanizing a revolution.

Though non-violent protest is not a new concept, it is rare to have such an unobstructed view into the lives of the peaceful protestors as offered in “Cultures of Resistance.”  The film truly accomplishes its goal of removing the viewer from their own, narrow, cultural scope by launching them straight into the everyday chaos of afflicted societies.

There is usually minimal background information provided about the nation under scrutiny and the plethora of cultures are blurred together with little transition.  Rather than obscure the message of the documentary, however, this actually enhances it.  You are forced to see these people not as citizens of a foreign land, but as human beings with whom you can relate to on an emotional level.  You feel bombarded by images of mutilated ex-child soldiers and landmine victims, and yet you also see people making poetry, music and graffiti to cope with and overcome adversity.

“Cultures of Resistance” has an altruistic message that encourages cultivation of the mind and soul in spite of in spite of conflict in the political sphere.  Most of us have seen the recent explosion of the KONY 2012 campaign, which is now entangled in controversy, but “Cultures of Resistance” offers something that cannot be ignored – a sense of value for human life.


REVIEW: Daredevil Vol.1 Hardcover

Writer: Mark Waid

Artists: Paolo Rivera, Marcos Martin

Publisher: Marvel Comics

By: John Gillooly

Tell any reader of Daredevil — from Frank Miller’s character defining run in the late 70’s all the way to last year’s psycho-Daredevil story “Shadowland” — that a book featuring a happy and optimistic Matt Murdock would be not just be a financial and critical success, but an almost unanimous book of the year for 2011, I’m sure that person would not believe you.

And yet, here we are in 2012 and it’s a new era, unlike any seen in Daredevil history. Our hero, Murdock, the blind lawyer by day, and vigilante by night, for once is letting loose and the results are probably one of the most entertaining super hero comic books in quite sometime.

Daredevil has never looked this happy, or been drawn this well, and it’s all thanks to the creative team of writer Mark Waid and his rotating art team of Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin. Waid relaunched this book as part of Marvel’s highly publicized “Big Shots” initiative, stringing together big time creators with B-list titles. Knowing Daredevil to be a very noir, very dour book, it’s somewhat surprising to see a writer like Waid take on this project. After all, Waid is a guy who is known for his take on big shiny heroes like Captain America and Superman. But the match works surprisingly well, Waid is more than happy to get Murdock out of the shadows and into the spotlight, and seems to have a grip on continuity knots like his one-time devil possession and his somewhat outed alter-ego. Waid deftly handles these issues and weaves them beautifully into the story he wants to tell without feeling forced. Waid gets past some of the sadder supporting characters in Matt’s life, electing to only keep around Matt’s bumbling yet endearing law partner Foggy Nelson, and even gives the law office of Murdock and Nelson a new direction that works incredibly well for his situation.

Of course, the biggest reason to crow about this reboot is the just plain gorgeous art of Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin. Rotating on different stories, both artists have similar pencil work, thus not making the book feel very jarring, but both bring special strengths that make their respective stories a complete treat. Rivera brings such an emotionally expressive look to his characters, unlike much I have seen before in comics. Just seeing Daredevil/Murdock smile is such a treat — as he’s a man who has been frowning for decades.

This rendering of Murdock’s echolocation powers is probably the best I’ve ever seen in a Daredevil comic before. Martin is already known for his page and panel composition thanks to his previous years on Amazing Spider-Man, and he uses that talent in Daredevil in a special way. A two-page spread shows Murdock and Foggy as they walk through a block of New York, and he highlights all the noises and sounds Murdock process into his “sight” and it just pops off the page and needs to be seen to be believed.

I’ll be honest, I’m at a loss of criticism for this book. This comic is the complete package, likeable characters, enticing storyline, veritable villains and just some of the best art in modern day comic books. If you like comics or superheroes this is a must read, must buy for your collection.

Story 5/5
Art 5/5
Overall 5/5

Why no one showed up to “We the Party”

By Kayla Cohen

“We the Party” was definitely a party I wish I hadn’t shown up to.


“We the Party” is the story of five friends in L.A. trying to fit in.

Great, another one of those stories.

It shows the normal high school problems:Trying to be cool, fitting in, partying, and the totally cliché theme of losing their virginity. We’ve seen it happen in “American Pie” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” so why are we being shown it again?

For an extensive amount of time in the 104-minute production, all we see are these girls grinding on the dance floor. Really? No wonder I was the only female in the movie theatre. Sadly, that wasn’t the only thing wrong with this movie.

Casting: Who thought it was a good idea to put Snoop Dogg on the big screen again? I thought his acting career ended after “Soul Plane” and cameos on “Scrubs.” The director, Mario Van Peebles’, also thought it would be a great idea to cast his kids. Unfortunately that was a mistake. Their acting brings nothing to the table, and without them, the film could have been tolerable. And whose idea was it to cast Rico from the Hannah Montana television series? It was almost as if Van Peebles contacted as many celebrities as he could get to be in the movie, with or without acting talent (The New Boyz, Quincy Brown, etc.)

The “R” rating of the movie probably made the least amount of sense. Why would a movie about life choices and high school only be available to kids who are about to graduate if they haven’t already? Nothing in the movie was too profane or inappropriate for a high school audience.

“We the Party” brings nothing new to the table. Same high school problems, same high school themes. And sadly looks like it was made on a high school budget. Besides the lack of acting talent, the wardrobe looks like it was picked out of the actor’s own closets and the hair and makeup just weren’t cutting it.

Sadly, I had a lot of hope for this movie. I wanted Van Peebles’ to bring a fresh twist to this old theme, but everything just fell short. Out of the 22 other people in the theatre, 13 were left by time the credits rolled. Maybe they were sleeping, and forgot to leave.  I wish I had left earlier too.

No one was singing about the return of “Glee”


By Kayla Cohen

Last season, Kevin McHale, who plays Artie, wheeled himself into the pool during a synchronized swimming act. Isn’t that more insulting than comical?

After all the scrutiny that “Glee” went through from the beginning of the first season for having an able-bodied actor play a character in a wheelchair, they are back at it again. Quinn, played by Dianna Agron, has now returned back to Glee, but in a wheelchair.

We don’t have actors pretend to play a character with Down Syndrome because that’s morally wrong. But we allow actors to play characters in wheelchairs. Is that morally wrong as well? Or not?

“I like that now when I got out in the community little kids aren’t like, ‘Wow, Mommy, what is she sitting in?’ because half of the time they have seen a wheelchair on television,” said Kelly Cooper, a 23-year-old senior majoring in law. “However I don’t agree with how they portray the handicapped characters, it seems a bit like they’re making fun of people in wheelchairs, like me.”

“Glee” consistently shows viewers that it’s harder socially to fit in if you’re in a wheelchair. On countless occasions with Kevin McHale, they make him feel like an outcast and he will never be able to fit in. They actually had an episode where they made his girlfriend ask Santa Claus to let McHale’s character be able to walk as a Christmas present, making it appear as if he cannot be the ideal boyfriend because he cannot walk.

And then to make matters worse, Quinn is now in a wheelchair because of a car accident. Dianna Agron’s character even stated she needs to get out of her wheelchair to make her dreams come true. So that means you can’t go to college if you’re in a wheelchair? Ridiculous.

Obviously, “Glee” creators have not learned their lesson. Maybe they should educate viewers more about being in wheelchairs and show less about how parts of society reject them socially. There is a person sitting in the chair too.

So what will be in store this season on “Glee” for Quinn? Is she going to wheel into a pool with Artie as well? They started with the ramp on Senior Day. Where to next?  I guess we’ll have to continue watching this season of “Glee” to see what other outrageous ideas spawn out of this as well.


Mason’s Peep-tastic Contest

By Rachel Newdorf

Peeps aren’t just Easter candy. Every Spring in the D.C. Metro area they get transformed into art.

For the past six years, The Washington Post has held a contest using the beloved marshmallow Easter candy. Popular culture, historical events and local phenomena are transformed into creative dioramas featuring the sugary and marshmallow-y treat in the most creative ways.

But The Washington Post isn’t the only one with Peep fever. The Honor’s College at George Mason University has held its own annual Peep Diorama Contest for the past two years.

“I thought it was the coolest thing in the world,” says David Anderson, the Living and Learning Community Coordinator in the Honor’s College at GMU, who  loved the Post’s annual contest and decided back in 2011 to bring the contest here to Mason.

This year’s contest asked the students to create a diorama including their favorite scene from a movie, television show, book or historical event. Characters had to be made out of Peeps, but students could manipulate them in any way needed to make their diorama as close to the real thing as possible.

Unlike the Post’s contest, Peeps were given to students who signed up for the contest.

“We wanted to provide the peeps for those students who didn’t have the transportation to go out and get them themselves,” says Anderson, 30.

But, they didn’t have to spend much of their candy budget —  last year, there was only one entry, “Kill Peep.”

This year, there were three entries: “Tarzan of the Ape-eeps” by Mary Wells, “Peep Trek,” by Natalie Losik, and “The Peeps of Being a Wallflower,” by Caroline Kim.

Kim, a 20-year-old junior majoring in both History and English found out about the contest through the Honor’s program weekly e-mails to students.

She decided to re-create the most popular scene from her favorite movie “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” when the three best friends, Charlie, Sam and Patrick are driving under the Fort Pitt Tunnel after homecoming and Sam’s dress is inflated by the wind.

It took her a couple of days to craft the peeps, clay, poster paper, acrylic and construction paper into her diorama.

“The Honor’s College thought Sam and her dress were a potato sack,” says Kim, from Annandale. “I enjoyed it and would do it again.”

Natalie Losik, 22, from Hampton, Va., didn’t have time to enter the contest last year, but with this year’s deadline, March 30, being so close to spring break, it gave her an opportunity to work on her diorama “Peep Trek.”

Working on it a bit everyday during the break, Losik made a shoebox look like the bridge of the Star Trek Enterprise. She used foam core, toothpicks and wooden skewers to hold the Peeps up.

Using the original “Star Trek” television series as her inspiration, the senior majoring in Global Affairs,  got her idea after polling her family and friends over Facebook.

Mary Wells, a freshman from Stafford, Va., used real plants and rocks, Peeps, paint and an old t-shirt for the Peep’s clothing — and created her Tarzan diorama in only two days.

“After getting the Disney song from the Tarzan movie stuck in my head, I thought it would be fun to create it with peeps,” says Wells, 18, an English and Theater double major. She plans to enter next year, too.

To see the dioramas in person, go to Enterprise Room 302.

Peep Trek

Wallflower Peep

tarzan peeps

Justice is finally here…the band, that is!

By Zohra Alnoor

The floor is sticky and wet, my clothes are drenched in sweat that’s not all my own, and I’m sure I’ll have lost hearing in my left ear in the morning. But if you were to ask me how I’m feeling, I would say, “I am in bliss.”

Why? Well, because less than ten feet away from me are two Frenchmen, who make up the electronic duo, Justice, and they are playing their sweet tunes at the 9:30 Club. I’ve waited four years for this concert since I first discovered their music through YouTube video hopping. The wait is over, I am here, and I am loving it.

Justice is made up of Xavier de Rosnay, 30, and Gaspard Augé, 33. Their debut album, (yes, just the symbol. Pronounced ‘cross’), was released in 2007 and featured a light theme of the church, with songs names such as, ‘Genesis,’ ‘Let There Be Light,’ and ‘Waters of Nazareth.’

Augé once told Mojo magazine the reason for them creating the basis of their group’s image from such an iconic figure such as a cross. “It came from a very simple idea which was to compare the energy you can have in a church, the kind of mystical vibe of it, and the energy you can find in a club. Everybody is gathering together and focusing at the same point.”

On Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, after four long years, Justice returned to D.C. for a concert featuring their newest songs and remixes.

Tickets for the concert cost $35 and were sold out in the first hour that they went on sale though Ticketfly in mid-December. I was lucky enough to grab a pair.

After months of waiting, the night of the concert arrived and I was more than ready. The show began at 8 p.m. with an opening set by DJ Busy P aka Pedro Winter, Justice’s manager, as well as the creator and owner of their record company, Ed Banger Records.

Finally, at exactly 9:30 p.m., Justice stepped out onto a dark stage and took the last few moments before the show began to stare out into the screaming crowd. Suddenly, their giant cross, standing in the center of their switchboard podium, illuminated the whole room. Then it began. After an hour and a half, it was over. It was epic. My body was sore for days after being thrown up, down and all around that mosh pit. Not that I’m complaining.

But alas, my night did not end there. Oh no. Not even close. After the crowds died down and the streets were basically empty, my fellow Justice-obsessed friend and I waited by the duo’s tour bus along with maybe ten or 15 other fans. We weren’t expecting much. Maybe a wave, a blurry picture, maybe even, oh God, eye contact! It didn’t matter; any one of those would make us as giddy as school girls. So imagine our surprise when the chain-smoking Frenchmen stopped and took pictures with every fan waiting, then signed autographs, and then took pictures once again since some fan’s pictures came out blurry (:cough cough: me). My friend and I were literally the only girls in this whole group and were given first dibs by the gentlemen around us for autographs, pictures, etc. Justice fans are honestly the most well-mannered fans I’ve met! Love it.

In the end, I couldn’t have asked for more that evening. I’ll now have to wait for the next Justice concert, which hopefully won’t be in another four years. In the meantime, I’ll keep the memories alive with my phone full of pictures and videos and of course, heal my aching (but happy!) body until the French arrive again.





Justice 1

Justice 2